I never thought I’d be a person with insecurities. I am in no way a cocky person. I was raised and groomed to have confidence. My insecurities have always been more so with health issues than image. I was insecure about my insecurities. I’d never had a declining moment with self esteem during my adolescent years, but it took a hit during my college years. Growing up I didn’t have any major skin issues aside from what we all assumed to be a heat rash. Every summer (or so it seemed) I’d get little red bumps on one of my forearms. It happened other times when my body seemed to get overheated. The rashes lasted no longer than three or four days so there was no need to go to the doctor.
In college these rashes appeared more frequently and in new places. I began seeing patches underneath my arms and on my neck. At first I was okay and thought I’d just had an allergic reaction to something I’d tried out, I do have really sensitive skin. But the rashes underneath my arm seemed to stay around longer. Eventually the itchiness turned into pain. I was told by the nurse on campus to change my deodorant and laundry detergent. Okay, no big deal, no more fragranced stuff. But there was no major change. I went back home to see my physician and found out I had eczema. Great. Something else I had that no one in my immediate family had. I had no one to talk to about what I was feeling, no one who could relate and understand.
I began covering up more and more because those rashes soon became scars. I couldn’t help but scratch every itch and over time I developed dark scars behind my knees, on my neck, my armpits and in the crooks of my arms. I think it was really difficult for me because I didn’t go through an acne period and I was always complimented on my skin so it was assumed that people would notice and comment. And they had. The tough part was the comments that I received while still struggle to accept myself through this journey. The negative comments were coming from adults in my family! Talk about a low blow.
I struggled with it massively. I had periods where I didn’t give no fucks and wore whatever I wanted without a worry. I had times that I did not want to go outside. Just before moving to Florida I embraced it. I figured it was something that was obviously attached to me so I may as well embrace it. I can’t say it is easy, because to this day I back slide and wallow in my feelings about it.
I’d recently come across this article on Blavity by Nia Decaille in which she shares her journey with eczema. Someone who understands! The feelings flooded back as during this time I was having a major outbreak under my arms that had now become open wounds. I thank her for sharing because she offered a website to search for doctors (I’ve seen physicians, family nurses, dermatologists who claimed to personally struggle with eczema etc). Her post about it made me realize that while I have this massive amount of self worth and love that I needed to be more open to sharing this part of me with others. You never know who you could be helping.
Which took me back to my time living in Florida. I’d met the sweetest girl. A bit annoying, but most definitely the sweetest person. She struggled with psoriases. A white and often pale girl with psoriases on 96 percent of her body. One of our first conversations was about psoriases and eczema, how struggles and feelings and being supportive of one another. I’d told her I asked questions because I’d like to know and understand, not just assume and judge. She told me that as long as she’d worked there no one had sat with her and talked to her about it aside from a manager when she was in severe pain and needed to go home. She told me that people sometimes moved away from her, wouldn’t hug or shake her hand because of it. How ignorant…
The insecurities I hold I have no control over. I have eczema. I suffer from severe migraines. I get light-headed and fall unconscious and am not able to warn anyone before hand nor do I know how long I am out. These things have not interfered in many aspects of my life aside from one – my love life. I’ve feared getting to close to someone and him not wanting to “deal” with any of that on top of asthma. I’ve feared that if I did ever connect with someone then the issue would be would he want to procreate with me knowing there are chances our child(ren) may have any one of these conditions. Let’s be honest, people can be really shallow and for a girl who has never had any self doubt this was hard to face late in life. I’d felt like I’d lived through all of the embarrassing stuff so why now?
I’m grateful for this journey because it has broken me down in a way that I did not know was needed. It has aided me in increasing my self value and that wasn’t something I didn’t think could increase any further. It has allowed me to speak up and to others who face similar challenges and give them support and courage. These insecurities no matter how badly they hurt and scar are blessings.